Leadership Case Study Michael Alfonso Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

By integrating aspects of transformational leadership into his leadership, Alonso would have inspired his crew to follow him while also becoming leaders by themselves. However, this could have only been made possible if his thoughts, feelings, and actions were consistent. As a leader of change Alfonso should have shown some element of connection to himself, the world, and the people around him and be grounded in reality. He ought to have come up with a vision and communicate it with passion and purpose (Covey, 2007). He should have paid personal attention to the crew members in a way that engages them and generates trust and commitment. He should have genuinely cared about the crew members, what they wanted, and how he could serve them instead of admonishing them in public. As a transformational leader, Alfonso ought to have been curious, open to new ideas, and learn constantly. In this way he could have received constant feedback from the officers and get to know if something was wrong.

As a commander of Trident submarine Alfonso should have developed and shared an inspiring vision of the organization's future. His conduct should have been geared towards bringing out the best in individual crew members. He should have also shown genuine concern and respect for others by upholding the navy's adage of praising in public and penalizing in private. As a commander he should have continuously invested in his own development and that of the crew members (Covey, 2007). The Trident commander should have also developed a culture of collaboration rather that of command and control where change is welcome as an opportunity as opposed to a threat. Alfonso should have also recognized that leadership needs to be demonstrated at times by all the crew members on board the submarine as this stands to build genuine trust between leaders and followers. He ought to have paid much attention to matters pertaining to terminal values like integrity and fairness for the greater good of the organization and the society at large (Covey, 2007). Besides, Alfonso should have increased awareness of what is right, good, important, and beautiful by elevating the crew members needs for achievement and self-actualization by fostering in them higher moral maturity. This could have made crew members to go beyond their self-interests for the good of their group, organization, or society. When the value congruence between a leader and his followers is achieved, the leader and his followers become more satisfied emotionally. The leaders are subsequently seen by their followers as being considerate, competent, and successful. This makes followers to become more satisfied with the jobs they do. Alfonso should have come up with clear set of values and demonstrate them in every action and providing role model to his followers. He ought to have inculcated a culture of trust between himself and the rest of crew members. The trust should have been built on a solid moral and ethical foundation (Covey, 2007).

Alfonso should have been able to challenge assumptions, take risks, and solicit follower's ideas. With this he could have stimulated and encouraged creativity among the crew members which is very critical in transformational leadership (Covey, 2007).

Leadership and emotional intelligence

As a leader Alfonso should never have allowed his temper to get out of control no matter the situation he was confronted with. Think of the incident when he bawled out the supply officer, the executive officer, and the chief of the boat because the soda dispenser he used to pour himself a glass of Coke contained Mr. Pibb's. As an emotionally intelligent leader he could have drawn complete trust of the crew members. He ought to have spoken kindly to his team and listen to them. He should have been easy to talk to and capable of making careful and informed decisions (Mindtools, 2012). Emotionally intelligent leaders know what they are feeling, what this means, and how their emotions can affect other people. Alfonso ought to have been self-aware, self-regulated, motivated, empathetic, and social skills. As a self-aware individual a leader should always know how he feels and know his emotions and actions can affect the people around them. He should have a clear picture of his strengthens and weaknesses and this boils down to humility. Verbal attacks that Commander Alfonso directed to other crew members could not have been witnessed if he had self-regulation. Self-regulation should have enabled him to stay in control. It also entails personal accountability. As a self-motivated leader, Alfonso should have re-examined why he was engaging in certain acts, know where he stands, and be hopeful to find something good. To improve his empathy, Alfonso should have been in a position to put himself in someone else's position, pay attention to the crew member's body language, and respond to feelings by trying to address them (Mindtools, 2012).

Emotionally intelligent leaders should be great communicators. They are open to hearing bad news as good news, and are capable of marshalling the support of their team. They are capable of resolving conflicts diplomatically, something that was lacking in Alfonso's leadership (Mindtools, 2012).

Leadership and Power

Focusing on Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Motivation, individuals hungry for power are stuck in the second to bottom level which is safety. True leaders have self-esteem and self-confidence and do not seek power to bolster their feeling of self-worth. Alfonso was a loner and immediately he assumed leadership position he started imposing himself on others because of the power he had. True leaders should be motivated by goals common to his group. As a leader, Alfonso should have been in a position to inspire others to dream more, learn more, and become more.

Leadership and Ethics

An ethical leader should respect others and never use others as a medium to achieve personal goals. He should respect the feelings, decisions, and values of his followers by effectively listening to them and being compassionate (Anonymous, 2012). These are values that Alfonso never integrated into his leadership. Ethical leaders should place interest of his followers ahead of their interests. He should be fair and just. Moreover, he should be loyal and honest because honesty is an essential element of ethical leadership.

Team Leadership

Lack of leadership is a roadblock to a team's performance. Excellent teams function in high degree because they have a vision, have result driven structures, have a unified commitment, and work in a collaborative climate (Larson & LaFasto, 1989). Excellent teams have high standards of excellence (Northouse, 2007). The crew that was led by Alfonso could not be called excellent teams because of lack of team leadership (Stewart & Manz, 1995). High standards of excellence in a team can only be achieved when a team has group norms.

In terms of love vs. fear Alfonso leadership capabilities made the crew members to be despondent. In fact, they were physically and mentally beaten. His open admonishment of the crew members was a clear indication that that he behaved so strongly as a captain.

As a leader in a nuclear submarine a lot of attention should be paid on interpersonal relationships. Because of the leadership offered by the Commander of the submarine the crews will either be motivated or de-motivated. Motivated crew members will definitely ensure that high certification grades are attained. Admiral Sullivan's decision to fire Alfonso was well timed before his continued stay at the helm of leadership could have been catastrophic in the long run.

In the realms of emotional intelligence, Commander Alfonso did not exhibit any of its aspects. He was not self-aware, neither was he self-regulated. He was also not empathic or self-motivated.

References List

Anonymous. (2012). Leadership Ethics-Traits of an Ethical Leader. Retrieved from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/leadership-ethics.htm

Bass, B.M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill's handbook of leadership (3 ed.). New York, NY: Free


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Newberry Park, CA: Sage.

Mindtools. (2012). Emotional Intelligence in Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_45.htm

Northouse, G. (2007). Leadership Theory and Practice. (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

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Ricks, T.E. (November 20, 1997). A Skipper's Chance to Run a Trident Sub-Hits Stormy

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Sources Used in Document:

References List

Anonymous. (2012). Leadership Ethics-Traits of an Ethical Leader. Retrieved from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/leadership-ethics.htm

Bass, B.M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill's handbook of leadership (3 ed.). New York, NY: Free


Covey, S. (2007). The Transformational Leadership Report. Retrieved from http://www.transformationalleadership.net/products/TransformationalLeadershipReport.pdf

Cite This Case Study:

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